Samsung’s new S7 and S7 Edge — same same but different

At MWC earlier this morning, LG weren’t the only ones to unveil a new smartphone. Samsung has also released the next generation in the Galaxy S line, the S7. While their fellow Koreans went boldly all-out, Samsung has simply improved upon their previous offering, the S6. How are the S7 and S7 Edge then?

Some key fixes

Go ahead, nothing's gonna happen!
Go ahead, nothing’s gonna happen!

The Galaxy S6 was hugely panned for dropping the waterproofing feature, and for losing the micro-SD card slot. Thankfully, both features are back with the Galaxy S7. Other features some were raising a stink about were the supposed lack of battery life, and the protruding camera hump.

It is clear that Samsung has been listening, however, for it’s worked hard to fix these issues.

It's back!
It’s back!

In terms of battery capacity, we’ve seen a boost from 2550 mAh and 2660 mAh of the S6 and S6 Edge respectively, to 3000 mAh and 3600 mAh in the corresponding S7 variants. The micro-SD card slot is also back, supporting cards of capacities up to 200GB.

Have a look at a specs comparison of the S7 and S6.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

SoC

Snapdragon 820
2x Kryo @ 2.15GHz
2x Kryo @ 1.6GHz
Adreno 530

or

Exynos 8890

Exynos 7420
4x Cortex-A57 @ 2.1GHz
4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz
Mali T760MP8

RAM

4GB

3GB

Storage

32/64GB NAND + microSD (up to 200GB)

32/64/128GB

Display

5.1” 1440p
SAMOLED
5.5″ 1440p
SAMOLED
Dual Edge
5.1” 1440p
SAMOLED

5.1” 1440p
SAMOLED
Dual Edge

Dimensions

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm, 152 grams 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm, 157 grams 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm max, 138 grams

142.1 x 70.1 x 7.0mm max, 132 grams

Camera

Rear Camera w/OIS
12MP (4032 x 3024)
f/1.7, object tracking AF
Rear Camera w/OIS
16MP (5132 x 2988)
f/1.9, object tracking AF
Front Facing
5MP, f/1.7

Front Facing
5MP , f/1.9

Battery

3000mAh 3600mAh 2550 mAh

2600 mAh

Launch OS

Android 6 w/TouchWiz

Android 5 w/TouchWiz

Connectivity

802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MU-MIMO +
BT 4.2,
USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, NFC

2×2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac +
BT 4.1 (BCM4358),
USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, NFC

Wireless Charging Yes, Fast Charging

WPC 1.1 (4.6W) &
PMA 1.0 (4.2W)

Fingerprint Sensor

Touch

Touch

SIM Size NanoSIM

NanoSIM

Design

Looks pretty nice, doesn't it?
Looks pretty nice, doesn’t it?

Samsung hasn’t tinkered too much with the design of the S7 and S7 Edge, for the S6 redesign was well received. The power button is still located on the right, with the volume rocker on the left.

On the top of the device you find the combined NanoSIM and micro-SD card tray, although there is no IR blaster like the G5 possesses.

Bottom

The bottom houses the speaker grille, microphone and a micro-USB port but no USB Type-C like in the G5. While the lack of an IR blaster can be explained by its lack of popularity, the decision to forgo Type-C is an odd one. Not included is a removable battery modular design either.

Yup, curved
Yup, curved

What is interesting to note is that the rear of the S7 is now curved, dubbed ‘3D Glass’ by Samsung. This makes the phone easier to grip, and has another benefit in making it feel thinner than it actually is.

Like water off a duck's back
Like water off a duck’s back

Back is also dust and waterproofing, a feature that was skipped in the S6. The S7 is rated at IP68, which means it can survive a half-hour dunking in a 1m freshwater pool.

Display

Display

The S7 has an absolutely identical display to the S6 — a 2560 x 1440p AMOLED panel with a diagonal of 5.1 inches. There is a little bit more of a difference with the S7 Edge, for it’s received a diagonal bump up to 5.5 inches.

Always On

Also included with the S7 is an ‘Always-On’ mode to allow for quick checks of the date and time.

The display has always been an arena where Samsung has been the undisputed king of — even the Nexus 6P uses an older version of their AMOLED panels — so it’s good to see that they’re not shaking up things radically.

Camera

Not bigger, but certainly better
Not bigger, but certainly better

Already having included perhaps the best smartphone camera in the S6, Samsung has nevertheless ploughed on with improvements to the system. And this is where it gets pretty different.

Instead of continuing on with the megapixel race, Samsung has pushed to further improve their low-light performance. This has meant dropping the pixel count to 12MP, but widening the aperture to f/1.7. The pixel size has also increased to 1.4μm, which means that the S7 will be able to capture much more light when it is scarce.

How it works
How dual-pixel autofocus works

What is extremely interesting is the inclusion of dual-pixel CMOS autofocus systems — something we see only in high-end DSLRs like Canon’s 7D Mark II. This works similar to the standard phase-detection autofocus, but is mightily quicker in tracking and switching subjects.

Other Goodies

Battery Case

Samsung has also included Fast Charging in the S7, as well as a host of accessories. One of these accessories is the charging case, which not only increases your battery capacity (2700 mAh for the S7 and 3100 mAh for the Edge) but also uses Qi wireless charging to keep your phone powered up.

Interchangable Lens

Another accessory is a snap-on case that allows you to use interchangeable lenses to make your photos even better, similar to Sony’s QX10 and QX100.

Launch date and Pricing

The three S7 colours
The three S7 colours

The Galaxy S7 has been confirmed to be launching on the 12th of March here in Singapore, so mark your calendars if you’re interested. Pre-orders will start on the 26th of February (that’s this Friday), and you can do so from any of the three telcos or any Samsung Experience store.

However, only the 32GB version will be available at launch, with a Samsung spokesperson saying that the 64GB versions of both devices will not be available at launch in Singapore, but cannot confirm when or if they will eventually be sold here.

The S7 (32GB) and S7 edge (32GB) will be available at a recommended retail price of S$998 and S$1,098 respectively. They will come in three colours: Black Onyx, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium.

The Gear VR is pretty cool
The Gear VR is pretty cool

Customers who have successfully pre-ordered will receive their phones and a complimentary Samsung Gear VR (worth S$148) a day before launch.

In the mean-time you can also have a look at LG’s G5, or continue to wait to allow the dust from MWC 2016 to settle.

What will be your next phone?